As a former K–12 school business manager, I remember the summer was an extremely busy time of year. There are long lists of repairs to complete while the students and teachers are out for the summer break. Along with those list of repairs, the summer is also the perfect time to take a step back and revisit the school’s safety plan.Revisiting your safety plan should involve reevaluating your safety, security, and emergency plans. Summer is also a good time to inspect your premises for any hazards. If you don’t already have one in place, the summer months may also be a good time to implement a safety officer at your school. A safety officer can assist in the monitoring of the safety program throughout the school year.
It is important to evaluate if the school premises are ready. Is fencing around the school in good repair? Is the playground equipment inspected and in good working order? Is there adequate cushioning material around the swings and other playground equipment, or do we need to bring in more? What about the parking lot: are there potholes that need repair, and are the parking lots adequately stripped for parking spaces and student pick-up/drop-off areas?
Check your sidewalks, and repair areas that may cause trips and falls. This is an essential way to minimize the potential losses from falls for faculty, staff, and students, as well as visitors on campus.
Inspect the lighting. Has the campus been evaluated by a nighttime walk-through to find areas that need more attention? A safe nighttime environment can be achieved by trimming trees and bushes or adding or changing lighting.
Many of the safety processes listed above can and should be picked up using the Adventist Risk Management, Inc. (ARM) Self-Inspection Form under the guidance of a safety officer. If you don’t have a safety officer program on campus, this is a good time to get one set up. ARM has a lot of resources available as tools for evaluation, and we will review some of those below.
School Safety Officer – Although this vital role is often overlooked, the safety officer is a crucial leader in the ministry of risk management. The safety officer’s top priority is to keep the ministry of risk management on the minds of the leadership team and board. Three important areas to cover with leadership are risk identification, risk control, and risk financing. The following link will provide additional details about these responsibilities: The Ministry of the safety Officer
School Self-Inspection – As previously mentioned, the school self-inspection form is critical to identifying areas of concern. Scheduling a self-inspection of the school building and grounds well before the school year begins is important. A self-inspection allows you to find any broken or dangerous items and repair them before students arrive on campus. Use the ARM School Self-Inspection Form to complete your evaluation of campus safety.
Emergency Response – Summer is a good time to reevaluate and adjust your emergency response plan. Each of your crisis response team members should have or receive the necessary training for an emergency.
There are four main areas of emergency response:
- Administrative team – provides overall leadership during a crisis
- Communicates with local first responders
- Provides detailed description of the crisis
- Includes the safety officer
- Communication team – works with the conference to communicate with the media and external and internal audiences during a crisis
- Prepares statements to be released to the media and maintains contact with police, emergency services, and hospital representatives to keep information current and accurate
- Handles all media requests for information and should include your conference and local communication director
- Medical team – provides immediate medical assistance during an emergency
- Monitors the patients’ vital signs to provide a report to paramedic or hospital personnel
- Stays equipped with necessary medications and medical supplies needed to provide immediate emergency care
- Includes local nurses and doctors or other church members with a medical or emergency response background
- Security team – works to secure the buildings and nearby premises during and after a crisis
- Strategically searches building for missing children or individuals who may be in danger during a crisis
- Works in collaboration with local law enforcement authorities and has in-depth knowledge of the buildings’ floor plans, including exits and potential hiding locations
- Includes individuals with a law enforcement or emergency response background
Adventist Risk Management is dedicated to providing the resources needed to address risk management and safety issues for faculty, staff, administrators, and the school’s safety committee.
Have a great school year and know that we are here to help!
Image credits: WavebreakMediaMicro-stock.adobe.com